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The Play, and the Competition, is the Thing

The cast of "Baby" performs at Nipmuc High School's first-annual One Act Play Competition on May 9.

Over the course of a few short weeks, students at the Nipmuc High School organized and put on their first One-Act Play Competition on May 9. The competition was a completely student-driven process where the students signed up to be a director, chose plays to perform, auditioned for parts, made props and costumes, and rehearsed for a chance to win the title of Best Play, Best Director, or Best Lead Performance.

The first of four plays, "Baby" was a humorous tale about what a baby really thinks of adults when they poke and tickle and speak to them in "baby talk." The play was directed by Ali Zagame and assisted by Kelsey O' Hagan, and was performed by students Elizabeth Manser, Molly Craft, Melanie Roy, Alec McCullough, Liam Egan, Hannah Nielsen, Tanya McGee, Kelsey O'Hagan and Chris Howard.

The second play, "If I Had One Hundred Thousand Dollars," was both written and directed by Nipmuc senior Matt D'Innocenzo. The entertaining story centered around a family who thought they had won $100,000 and their contradictory plans to make use of the money. The cast included Assistant Director Joselyn Melpignano, Alessia Giannozzi, Eli Tamagni, Elizabeth Nigro, Shannon O'Brien, Ethan Cote, and Melody Wiklund.

The third play, "Bang Bang You're Dead," was an intense drama about a school shooter whose murdered classmates come back to haunt him for the answers of "why them?" Directed by Kathleen Glowacki, and assisted by Chelsea Daniels, the cast included Brandon Hall, Brian Mullen, Rose Wiklund, Mike Annesi, Catherine Adcock, and Molly King.

The fourth production was the competition's only musical. The poignant "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" showcased how love, especially unrequited, may not conquer all. Directed by Emily Martin and assisted by Christian Dumas, the cast included David Byer, Matt Campagna, Lisa Slavin, Dan Perez, Jessie Charpentier, and Sammy Brower.

After the productions, a panel of judges including Nipmuc's Media Center Specialist Eileen Aldrich, English Teacher Pamela Kyrka, History Teacher Howard Cohen, Guidance Counselor Cynthia Bucken, and Drama Coach Elizabeth McCarthy, announced the awards. "This was a very, very tough decision," said McCarthy. "We want to congratulate everybody."

Awards for Best Featured Performer went to Molly King for "Bang Bang You're Dead" and to Shannon O'Brien for "If I Had One Hundred Thousand Dollars"; Best Lead Performer went to Brandon Hall for "Bang Bang You're Dead" and Alessia Giannozzi for "If I Had One Hundred Thousand Dollars"; Best Director went to Matt D'Innocenzo for "If I Had One Hundred Thousand Dollars"; a Special Achievement Award went to the Lighting and Special effects crew for "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog"; and the award for Best Play went to "Bang Bang You're Dead."

Competition judge Eileen Aldrich said that she was extremely impressed with the quality of the "completely student-driven" productions. "I was amazed at how professional the students were and how many great actors there are at this school. Their dedication was amazing," said Aldrich.

Behind the scenes, students were pleased with their first year putting on this "stressful but fun" event. Nipmuc Sophmore Lisa Slavin, who played Penny in "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog," said that the whole process was "eye-opening" for her. "We had no adult direction so the students had to work together to put it all together; if you couldn't work together, the whole thing falls apart," she said. Lisa also said that the students hope to put on the 2nd Annual One Act Play competition next year.


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